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Perry Hall Mansion

PERRY HALL MANSION , situated on an elevation that commands a wide view. The former house on the site, built about 1750 for Harry Dorsey Gough, was one of the larg- est in Maryland; after a fire in 1824 half the structure was rebuilt. The first definite record of the place is in an advertisement of April 19, 1783, for a gardener. Gough, one of the wealthiest landowners in the State, spent lav- ishly both on his home and for the improvement and beautification of his grounds. In Gough's time the estate contained several thousand acres, but it now has only about 200. The thick walls are of brick, now plastered over, and the foundation is massive. The main part of the house (see illustration) is three-storied with dormer windows, and the wing is two-storied; there was formerly a similar wing on the other side and pavilions beyond the wings. In one end was the chapel and in the other an elaborate Roman bath, an unusual feature in houses of the period in America. A painting of the house, made in 1800 and now in the museum of the Washington Monument in Baltimore, shows the house in the days of its glory. At present it is merely a large substantial house without special distinction; the paneling and other interior woodwork have been taken away. The flooring is fire-proofed with a layer of plaster. The wide center hall and fireplaces in each room remain. Perry Hall holds a high place in Methodist annals. Through his wife's influence, Gough was converted to Methodism, and erected a chapel. His home was a center of hospitality for itinerant Methodist preachers, notably Asbury and Thomas Coke. Here in December 1784 assembled a group that then rode to Baltimore for the Christmas Conference at Lovely Lane Meeting House, where the Methodist Episcopal Church in America was organized and Francis Asbury was elected superintendent.